Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has alleged that a comprehensive plot is underway to discredit his book, My Transition Hour , which was well-received by the Nigerian public at its recent launch in Abuja.
According to him, the diatribes aimed at the book since its launch by Governor Ibrahim Shettima of Borno State as well as the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, is proof of the calculated plot to rubbish the work.
Jonathan, who gave this indication in a statement on Friday, signed by his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, and made available to Saturday INDEPENDENT, was replying in part to Shettima, who had allegedly described the book as “an elementary book of fiction,” particularly in respect to its account on the Chibok girls saga.
Jonathan was also responding to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Media Assistant, Garba Shehu, who was quoted as saying that Jonathan’s anti-corruption records, as conveyed in the book, couldn’t be substantiated.
“It is obvious from the pattern of deleterious comments from certain quarters since the successful public presentation of ‘My Transition Hours‘, a book authored by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan that a comprehensive plan to discredit the book is afoot,” the statement said.
“However, since facts don’t lie, the plot shall come to naught, just as the sustained propaganda blitzkrieg against the author and all he stands for, has failed to dampen enthusiasm and respect for his legacies,” it added.
“On Wednesday Nigerians were treated to a noisy but feeble defence by Borno Governor Kashim Shettima who, only ended up showcasing a jaded ritual of chest-thumbing, rather than offer plausible explanations for the ignoble roles he played in worsening the Boko Haram tragedy in his home state.”
Insisting that Governor Shettima must bear the burden of explaining the sordid events that led to the abduction of the girls, Jonathan wondered “Why he (Shettima) deliberately ignored the directive of both the Federal Ministry of Education and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for governors to keep candidates in the affected locations out of harm’s way by relocating them to safer areas for their exams.”
He added, “If it was bad enough that ignoring the directive meant deliberately exposing the girls and other school children to danger, it was utterly reprehensible that when the girls eventually got kidnapped the governor refused to cooperate with the federal government during the search and rescue efforts.
“He is on record to have boasted that he did not contact the President until 19 days after the abduction had taken place. One other of such clearly senseless behaviour was his ill-advised roller coaster trip to America and Europe soon after the girls were abducted; a development that pushed a bemused foreign journalist to ask him what he was doing abroad at a time his home was burning.
“It is puzzling that the governor continues to hide behind the cover of the report of the Presidential Committee, rather than explain his actions. He should please publish the report or any document he has that either absolved him of indiscretion or gave him credit for his actions on the Chibok School Girl’s saga.”
On Shehu’s denial of Jonathan’s anti-corruption credentials, the former President said, “Garba Shehu towed a revisionist path when he claimed that Jonathan’s anti-corruption records couldn’t be substantiated.
“Has he forgotten that facts don’t lie? The only credible and globally recognized anti-corruption marker is Transparency International. Nigeria’s best ranking in TI’s corruption perception index still remains her placing in 2014, under President Jonathan, as the 136th out of all the countries ranked.
“This is far better than the last position recorded under the present government where Nigeria was ranked as number 148, a decline that took the nation 12 places backward.
“Rather than continue to raise a false banner of piety which apparently is no longer working, this administration would have served itself and the country better by understudying the success nuggets of its predecessors.
“Only then will they learn that Jonathan was able to do this through effective implementation of sound economic policies and institutional anti-corruption measures established by his administration.
“Part of the successful tools established by Jonathan to fight corruption included the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, which weeded out 50,000 ghost federal workers and saved the country
N15 billion monthly.
“The institutional framework also included the establishment of such mechanisms as the treasury single account (TSA), and bank verification number (BVN), vital anti-corruption tools which are now shamelessly being appropriated by those that inherited them.”
He further stressed, “There is no doubt that Jonathan provided focused leadership on the economic front, through institutional and sectoral reforms which impacted positively on the fundamentals for growth.
“Having sowed wisely, the Jonathan administration reaped bountifully by keeping inflation at a single digit, growing Nigeria’s economy to become the largest in Africa with a GDP of over half a trillion US dollars, and becoming the number one foreign direct investment destination on the continent.”
“All those were achieved because there were credible and sustainable economic programmes that were quite appealing to both local investors and the global business community.
“It is a known fact that businesses, growth and economic well-being shy away from corrupt territories. Doesn’t the fact that Nigeria has regressed to become the country with the highest number of poor people on earth, with tens of millions of jobs lost in less than four years, tell us something about where we now stand as a nation on anti-corruption fight?”